Monday, 29 July 2013

Just Be Friends!!! A Million Acts of Friendship

A Million Acts of Friendship, Janice Taylor
So I am really excited to be involved with this new company called Just Be Friends!  I first met Janice Taylor, founder of Just Be Friends, when she came to our staff meeting to convince us to pilot their new program, A Million Acts of Friendship, at our school.  I was blown away by her enthusiasm and her desire to help families, parents and teachers, as well as to make our schools better for our children. The basic premise is that the focus in schools should move from anti-bullying to friendship. Furthermore, families need support from other families, parents need support from other parents, and teachers and parents need to work together to help raise our children.  A Million Acts of Friendship helps connect all parties with one another and get the conversation going in a positive direction!!


Here is a quote that says it all from the JBF website:
Just Be Friends (jbfkids.com) is all about helping families and children connect, with each other and with their community.  On Just Be Friends, parents create a detailed family profile and are matched up with other families. The goal? To connect families and build community.In a time when more and more kids face increased negative social behaviours,  Just Be Friends empowers families to play a more active role in their children’s social development and connect to their community in unique and fun ways.  By celebrating friendship and bringing like-minded parents and kids together in a safe, online environment, we hope to change lives, one friendship at a time!  Just Be Friends includes a social networking website for families, the Just Be Friends Foundation and programs such as A Million Acts of Friendship, a school-based program which rewards healthy social behaviours and acts of friendship with special weekly friendship badges and much-needed school resources
Our school worked on our goal of a million acts of friendship the last month of school and it was so great to see everyone coming together to think about each other, and work together to earn each act of friendship.  Badges that could be earned included Just Be Brave, Just Be Kind, Just Be Masterful and Just Be Outgoing!  Students in our school went out into the community and encouraged businesses to get involved as well.  In my classroom we cleaned our grade 4 buddies' classroom and left them a gift for Just Be Kind.  For Just Be Brave we did something we were scared to do, videoed it or performed it for the class.  I have two students bring their violins to school to perform a piece and they ended up performing an impromptu duet!!  One student was participating in her year end ballet performance and sent a picture of her all dressed up, ready to go on stage!  So cool!!

After four weeks, we were well on our way to a million acts of friendship.  We celebrated with a dance party, ice cream, and money towards a new sound system for our gymnasium.  What was more exciting was the feeling that seemed to spread throughout our school - we were excited to earn our badges and plan our acts of friendship.  As a teacher, it was super easy to implement - all materials were provided for us - poster, stickers, ideas, etc.  My little muffins loved the stickers and badges.  It'll be a breeze to continue the program at the beginning of our next school year!

This summer Just Be Friends is hosting a video contest!  Check out the link for more information! There is over $2500 worth of prizes to be won!



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